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Tricks for Feeding Supplements to Picky Eaters

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    Tricks for Feeding Supplements to Picky Eaters

    Hi there. In my quest to set my horse Charlie up to be happy and healthy barefoot, after some googling and talking to some of my fellow boarders, I took the advice that I had received here and switched him from Farriers Formula Double Strength to California Trace. The Caltrace must not be as palatable! Charlie was eating the FF on its own no problem, but he won't touch the Caltrace pellets.

    I've tried a few different things and am having no luck; currently I have been powdering the pellets in what is now Charlie's coffee grinder, soaking about 1/3 lb alfalfa cubes and a sprinkle of shredded beet pulp with no molasses and he pretty much splashes it around. If I toss some chopped carrots or apple, he will pick those out and get some of the hay mush. I tried some applesauce on the pellets and he wasn't interested...molasses on the pellets and he of course loved that but I don't know that he needs molasses everyday.

    He's a fjord and an easy keeper. He is just on pasture 12-14 hrs/day and has free access to hay while he is in his stall so nothing tasty to mix it with. Any suggestions? My biggest concern is overdoing things in the food department so I've tried to keep even the alfalfa cubes/beet pulp on the low side, but maybe that is too low?

    I got a nice sneeze in my face with this snoot 😂
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    I feel like I've stumbled across some sort of dark magic with feed bags. Seriously, I have a picky mare on antibiotics...20 pills twice daily. When she managed to drop 15 of them on the ground, I'd had enough.

    Put it all in a feed bag, and it's GONE. Gone! Like magic.

    They're cheap enough to try, and a nice thing to have in the toolbox. Highly recommend!


      In that situation I would continue with the molasses, slowly reducing the amount of molasses over time with the hope that in the end I would have tricked the critter into eating the item with out the extra molasses.


        Did you start with a full serving of the CT? You might have to start small and work up

        Does he like alf pellets on their own? Beet pulp on its own? I have one who will gobble down quite a bit of soaked beet pulp, but 1c alf pellets is all he'll tolerate, no matter how much other stuff is in there.
        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


          I'd probably add it to a couple ounces of TC Senior
          No mourners, no funerals


            I couldn’t get mine to eat CalTrace any way at all. I’m fact, the only concentrated vit/mineral supplement he will eat is Barn Bag. He also likes their Adrenol product. He will gobble those products from Life Data right down.


              I hate dealing with molasses so I switched to some brown sugar and a splash of water so everything sticks. In the winter I was given a bunch of candy canes so I crushed those up and they worked well, crushed mints could work too.
              Several studies have also shown that fenugreek is a flavour that lots of horses like. Could be worth a try if you're trying to avoid sugar. I've never used it though.


                I had the same problem with my guy. I gave him a half scoop for a while before bumping it up. Also added apple sauce at first.

                Now he eats his full scoop with no issues.


                  Original Poster

                  Thanks all, this is really helpful.

                  Simkie - No kidding! I will keep this in my back pocket if none of the other mixing ideas work.

                  JB I am going to try the alfalfa cubes and the beet pulp both on their own today sans supplement to see if there is a preference; the little bit of beet pulp I added to the mix yesterday he seemed interested in. I started with half the supplement first and it seemed like he got most of it. I upped the mash mix by about half and tried the full supplement and that was a no go.

                  I'm going to keep it to half the amount per B-burg Dressage and if need be, I may drizzle a bit of molasses over the supplement and then reduce the amount per @trubandloki

                  @tabularashah - I am really trying to keep the vehicle forage based and avoid anything grain based if at all possible, he is already quite the sturdy boy. Both the alfalfa and the beet pulp have good digestive benefits and can help with stomach ulcers, so I'm hoping to keep those as the base.

                  My barn feeds twice a day so I'll keep experimenting with the half serving myself until I get a combo he is interested in, and then hand it over to the barn staff to try twice a day. Please keep any success stories coming!


                    I've had good luck using watered down molasses before, just mix up 1 part molasses to 3 or four parts water in a squirt bottle, squirt a little pool of liquid into the feeder, then mix the supplement in the water. It's not as messy or sticky as full strength molasses, a lot less sugar, but it still retains the flavor.


                      Original Poster

                      PamnReba - ooo great idea. I will give that a try instead of straight from the bottle.


                        Flavoured gelatin works for some horses as well. We used it sometimes back when I was a BM. It has a strong smell which seems to be enough to trick some of them. I found that a tiny bit was enough to trick the ones who could be tricked. The others thought they were being poisoned and wouldn't even try it.


                          Original Poster

                          GoodTimes Thanks! I will keep that in mind too. I sometimes forget how true the "you can lead a horse to water but can't make him drink" saying is!!


                            Originally posted by Fjordboycharlie View Post
                            GoodTimes Thanks! I will keep that in mind too. I sometimes forget how true the "you can lead a horse to water but can't make him drink" saying is!!
                            Yes! Nothing more frustrating than having your horse turn up their nose at a meal. Especially when there are meds that they need, or $$$ supplements. And syringing for more than a few days gets old really, really fast.


                              I use a bit of oil mixed with the pellets and powdered supplement to get the powder to stick. I think it helps disguise the flavor a little bit too.


                                If sugar is a concern, the sugar free peppermint flavoring for liquor drinks works well. Torani is the brand name
                                "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"


                                  Original Poster

                                  We had some lunchtime success! I offered him both the alfalfa soak and the beet pulp soak neat, and he liked them both. I tried the molasses/water mix; 1 tbsp molasses and 3 tbsp water and poured what ended up being about half of that on the supplement and added that to the mash. I think I will keep at this for a week or so then dilute the mix further and so on.

                                  mroades - I would have never thought of using the Torani flavors. I'll keep that in my back pocket too.


                                    Just to file away, in case: Banana.

                                    First offer a plain piece and see if he'll eat it. Most inhale it.

                                    I used to be able to get Bute, Aspirin and even activated charcoal into my Percheron just by stuffing it inside a banana. She even ate the peel!
                                    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


                                      Originally posted by Fjordboycharlie View Post
                                      @tabularashah - I am really trying to keep the vehicle forage based and avoid anything grain based if at all possible, he is already quite the sturdy boy. Both the alfalfa and the beet pulp have good digestive benefits and can help with stomach ulcers, so I'm hoping to keep those as the base.
                                      TC Senior is a forage based feed. Has some molasses for a more yummy smell but is not a high sugar feed.

                                      I've also added fennel seed for flavor. I've never used the sugar free peppermint syrup, but I've used the regular kind in small amounts to help syringe medications.


                                        Sugar free pancake syrup is another good one. I had an older horse who'd eat anything if you used sugar free pancake syrup to disguise it. You can often get the generic kind in big jugs for less if you hunt around.
                                        I loff my Quarter horse clique

                                        I kill threads dead!